Quebec Studies

Women's Theater in Québec: Choruses, Monologues and Dialogues

Quebec Studies (1983), 1, (1), 276–283.

Abstract

Women’s Theater in QuCbec: Choruses, Monologues and Dialogues Jane Moss One of the most notable aspects of the phenomenal growth of theater in Quebec over the last decade has been the emergence of women’s theater. Women’s theater groups, both amateur and professional, have sprung up not only in Montreal and Quebec, but also in smaller towns. Women poets and novelists, as well as feminist activists have turned to the theater in search of a more public and more political forum for their work. Professional theater women, dissatisfied with the roles assigned t o them on stage and behind the scenes, have taken the initiative in creating plays for women characters and for female audiences. I t is this dissatisfaction with the stereotyped roles of women which motivates women’s theater. Given theater’s function as a stylized representation of society, what better place to attack the oppression and exploitation of women and demand changes? This is what collectives like le ThChtre des Cuisines of Montreal and la Commune i Marie (formerly le Centre d’essai des femmes) of Quebec have done in plays on abortion, rape, and housework. What better place than the theater to undermine the image of women as weepy, resigned virgins, overworked martyr-mothers, and prostitutes? This is what Denise Boucher has done in Les Fe‘es ont soif(1978). Women have started writing for the theater t o replace unacceptable female stereotypes. Pol Pelletier, an actress and co-founder of the ThChtre ExpCrimental des Femmes, has complained that the female characters she wants to play are not in the traditional dramatic repertory.’ Michelle Rossignol, an actress and director of the Ecole Nationale de ThChtre, echoed Pelletier, complaining that in order to keep working in the theater she has had t o play roles which as a feminist she found repugnant.2 Louisette Dussault, an actress and author of the play Moman, has said that in order t o discover true images of

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Moss, Jane